Perhaps the most important single invention in the history of the world wasn’t the steamship, the motor car, the light bulb, the aeroplane, the telephone, or the computer.
In 1445, Johannes Gutenberg invented the world’s first printing press. He didn’t know it, but he was unleashing a religious revolution that continues to this day.
The first book he printed was the Bible. Soon after that, ordinary people were able to afford to buy copies, and could read the Bible for themselves instead of depending upon someone else’s interpretation.
The printing press helped to start the Reformation all over Europe.
Of all the miracles we nowadays take for granted, nowhere has there been a change as great as in the matter of communication.
When President Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday in 1861, it took three months before the news reached New Zealand. And the news came here only because a passenger on a sailing ship called it out to someone standing on the wharf.
When a disaffected Irish radical attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria’s youngest son in 1865 when the prince was on a visit to Melbourne, it was a couple of months before the Queen heard about it.
But today, of course, news is immediate; it gets sent around the globe with the speed of lightning.
It arrives on our computers, telephones, radios, television sets and cellphones. Language is our primary mode of communication.
Today’s Bible readings recount the unforgettable events of Pentecost. One of the main things that happened at Pentecost was the miracle of communication.
How wonderful, therefore, that the principal gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was language—enabling the first disciples to establish direct and meaningful communication with the people of the world.
I have been fortunate and grateful in that, as well as using the pulpit, most of my working life has been spent in communication.
Before I was ordained I worked in newspapers; for a few years I broadcast weekly here in Hamilton on a leading local radio station; wrote columns each week in two newspapers; and now have a blog which attracts readers from around the world. \
And of course, each week I am able to write upon this page. Reg Nicholson